Global auto makers aren't the only ones trying to grow business through better fuel economy products.
In the long-running war between airline manufacturing competitors Airbus and Boeing, the battle to build planes that get better fuel efficiency is on and playing out this week at the Paris Air Show.
Airbus is turning heads with a whopping $17 billion deal with AirAsia for up to 200 aircraft. The deal is expected to be announced Thursday at the show. Reports from Reuters suggest AirAsia will take delivery in the agreement of Airbus' revamped A320neo plane that delivers more fuel efficiency than its previous model.
As many airlines have enhanced bottom lines in recent years with cost-cutting measures including capacity reduction, threats of rising fuel costs loom heavy on the horizon and aircraft manufacturers are trying to sell into that concern.
France-based Airbus already benefited this week from such worry with commitments in Paris for purchases of the company's fastest-selling and most fuel efficient aircraft from U.S. leasing company CIT Group, in a deal with worth as much as $5.3 billion, and the Taiwanese airline TransAsia, in a smaller deal.
Rising oil prices combined with promised efficiency of the A320neo, a medium range jet which the company began marketing late last year and plans to begin delivering in late 2015, has been a big boost for Airbus, leaving many in Paris questioning what the response will be from chief competitor Boeing, the American manufacturer.
We don't want to panic just because our friend and our competitor (Airbus) is getting a lot of sales, said Jim Albaugh, Boeing's CEO of commercial airplanes, in an interview with the Associated Press. We haven't seen a lot of our customers defect. We're comfortable.
Boeing's most likely move will be updating its popular and competing 737 aircraft with similar fuel efficiencies. Some industry insiders have suggested Boeing may try to leap-frog Airbus altogether by launching an entirely new model, yet after the company experienced hefty cost overruns and delays with its Dreamliner program, that's less likely.